Mental Health in the workplace

Here at Bambu, we strive to provide and maintain a healthy work environment. We have noticed that while physical fitness is important, mental health is equally, if not more important. This is why we have teamed up with an Andys Man Club Hull ambassador to help our workers when they are going through a rough patch. Andys Man Club is a suicide awareness and prevention club. They meet every Monday at 7PM, to provide a safe and friendly environment to share their problems and experiences

This is why we have teamed up with them, in order to reduce the stigma of men talking about their problems. There are some terrifying statistics that have been published, Some 200,000 men a year report feeling stressed, anxious or depressed because of work, which accounts for 1.2% of men in work. But in a survey by Men’s Health Forum, 34% of men said they felt constantly stressed or under pressure. Men are less likely to ask for help with their mental health issues (particularly at work) because they may feel embarrassed or ashamed, perhaps because they feel that they are not meeting society’s demand for them to look and be strong and reliable. In the survey of 15,000 employees across the UK by the mental health charity Mind, one in three men (32%) blamed their work for causing mental health problems, compared to one in five women (19%).

Mental health issues include a wide range of conditions. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Stress (feeling under so much emotional or mental pressure that it is difficult to cope). Symptoms include low energy levels, muscle tension or pain, and sleep problems.
  • Anxiety (feelings of unease, fear or worry which can be mild or severe). Symptoms include panic attacks, headaches and insomnia.
  • Depression (more than just feeling unhappy or upset, depression is about long-term feelings of unhappiness or hopelessness). Symptoms include a lack of energy or interest in the outside world, sleeplessness, and aches and pains.
  • OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) (characterised by intrusive thoughts, like worrying about dirt and germs, and repetitive actions, like washing and cleaning).
  • Eating disorders (such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating).

Supporting men’s mental health in the workplace

Mental health issues can affect any individual indiscriminately, regardless of age or status, and many employers are becoming more understanding of the importance of reducing the dangers of stress, overwork and tight deadlines. Stress and mental health issues are a major cause of sickness absence, which can cause significant problems for organisations so it is important to take steps to support employees and prevent problems from escalating:

  • Encourage staff to talk. It is fairly common for men to avoid talking about their emotional lives yet we all have mental health in the same way as we all have physical health. Managers should be trained to spot the signs of mental ill health and support staff with their wellbeing (for example by reviewing workloads, creating an open and supportive team ethos, and providing opportunities to talk in confidence). Talking can aid good mental health and help avoid small problems from becoming major obstacles.
  • Highlight the importance of work/life balance. Encourage staff to finish work on time, take breaks and use all their holiday entitlement in increments throughout the year.
  • Show flexibility when supporting staff experiencing mental health issues. Look at practical ways to help them by making changes to their workloads or working hours.
  • Offer activities outside the workplace. Organising team-building, sporting or social events for staff can be good for morale.